Center. Schools, churches and the library remain closed until further notice, or until the epidemic is more under control than at present. All other gatherings and meetings have been cancelled or postponed. With the serious cases and sad deaths taking place this last week the influenza epidemic has proved a very serious thing in this community.
Miss Jennie Ferguson is at home from her teaching in Springfield, Miss Lillian Sutherland from Dracut and Miss Ruth Tuttle from Winthrop, all on account of closed schools on account of the epidemic.
Alec Fisher is still sick with the grippe.
Mrs. Maria Stone is seriously sick at home.
Alonzo H. Sutherland and Capt. Charles W. Robinson had a bad collision of their automobiles which they were driving last week Thursday near the drinking fountain at the common. Both men were badly shaken up in the head-on collision, Mr. Sutherland sustaining two broken ribs. Both machines were badly damaged.
All drills of Company L, M. S. G., have been suspended until further notice on account of the grippe epidemic.
Westford has again gone “over the top” and then some with its fourth liberty loan. Chairman John C. Abbot sent his first report to the Union National bank, Lowell, with 283 subscriptions, totaling $280,300. The town’s quota is $200,000. The Abbot Worsted Company subscribed for $100,000, Abiel J. Abbot and Julian A. Cameron $30,000 each and others of $10,000 and less are listed. The committee and the various subscribers have done some splendid work and deserve very sincere appreciation.
Postmaster J. Herbert Fletcher has recently bought two young hound puppies of thoroughbred stock which he hopes to train into valuable hunting dogs.
John M. Fletcher has received this week a good letter from Harold W. Hildreth in France, thanking him for a bunch of papers which were much appreciated and carefully read. He tells most interestingly of his daily life and surroundings. In concluding his letter Harold says, “By the time you get this I hope the Allies have advanced far into the German lines as [from] what we hear here the Germans are falling back at all points with heavy losses.”
The Mills family—father, mother and three children, are all reported sick with the influenza.
The selectmen of Westford and other interested townsmen are called to a public conference at 1 Beacon street, Boston, October 17, at 10:30, relative to expenditures necessary for the continued operation of the branch line electrics.
Deaths. Westford mourns the loss this week of one of her good citizens, Charles Day Colburn, which took place after a few days’ illness from pneumonia, following an attack of influenza. So short was his illness that the first many heard of it was his death early Friday morning of last week. Mr. Colburn was a practical and successful farmer, carrying on the large Colburn farm. Quiet and unassuming, but faithful and sincere in his home, in the church and in his duties as a citizen, in all of which he will be sincerely missed.
He was born in Westford 42 years and 5 months ago, the oldest son of Jonathan T. and Elizabeth Day Colburn. He received his education in the schools of Westford and later graduated from Amherst Agricultural college. He has served the town eight years on the board of assessors. He was a member of the Union Congregational church; also, a member of the men’s bible class and of the church board of trustees.
The deceased is survived by his wife, Nora Stearns Colburn; a daughter, Eleanor, and a son, Charles, and to this little family circle, which always seemed so complete in itself, the sincerest sympathy of the community is extended.
Private funeral services were held from his late home on last Sunday afternoon at two o’clock. In the absence of his own pastor, Rev. H. A. Lincoln, who was confined to his home with illness, Rev. F. W. Lambertson of Littleton Congregational church was the officiating clergyman. There were many beautiful floral tributes. The bearers were Houghton G. Osgood, Arthur E. Day, Otis L. Day and Leonard W. Wheeler, and burial was in Fairview cemetery.
The wide circle of Dr. O. V. Wells’ patients and friends are trying to adjust themselves to his sudden death this last week, going out from among them in the prime of his manhood, and of his usefulness. Dr. Wells was taken sick on Monday of last week with influenza, which developed into pneumonia, and he died late the following Friday evening after a sharp, suffering struggle with this disease, although everything possible was done to save his life. He had worked heroically to help others during the epidemic, going night and day to answer the many calls, and his illness was brought on from overwork in the profession that he was so devoted to. He was a good soldier—he died in the service. He stood high in his profession and his loss will be felt not only in Westford, where he practiced extensively, but in the surrounding towns and in Lowell, where he had an office.
He was often sought as a consulting physician in towns throughout Middlesex county. He was one of the examining physicians connected with district board 15, located in Ayer. He was also a member of Company L, M. S. G., when the company was first organized, and was later made a first lieutenant in the medical corps of the 19th M. S. G. Since his death his appointment as captain has been received. In August he attended the encampment in Framingham in the capacity of first lieutenant of the medical corps. Dr. Wells had applied for enlistment in the medical corps of the regular army and was making his preparations for duty overseas while awaiting the call.
Orion Vassar Wells was born in Bakersfield, Vt., November 8, 1880, the son of Lucian L. and Katherine E. Wells. He received his early education in his native town and later attended Brigham academy, from which he was graduated in 1898, and later spent one year at Wesleyan university in Middletown, Conn. He then went to Boston university, graduating in 1902, after which he went to Harvard medical school, completing his course in 1906. It was shortly after this that he commenced practice in Westford.
He was a member of the American Medical association, the Massachusetts Medical society, Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, William North lodge of masons, A.F. of A.M., and of Spalding Light Cavalry association.
On February 17, 1909, he was united in marriage with Miss Mary Alice Morrill, of Pond Hills, Amesbury. He is survived by his wife, a daughter Elizabeth and two sons, Huntington Larned and Richard Orion, his mother, six brothers and a sister.
Dr. Wells was devoted to his home and family and the sincerest sympathy goes out to this bereaved family circle.
Private funeral services were held from his late home Tuesday forenoon at 10:30 o’clock. Rev. Louis H. Buckshorn was the officiating clergyman and the bearers of the flag-draped casket were Harwood L. Wright, representing the Masonic fraternity, and three brothers of the deceased. Interment was in Fairview cemetery. A platoon of members of Company L, M. S. G., did military honors at the grave. As the company returned from the cemetery the bugle was sounded at intervals, making an impressive tribute in the perfect beauty of the autumn day.
About Town. Harley P. Knowlton, of North Chelmsford, who has been engaged on his own behalf in the printing business, has bought the farm on Francis hill recently owned by John H. Keefe. The farm includes the inspiring mountain and hill scenery of New Hampshire and Vermont, and all of the landscape scenery intervening to the west, Wachusett Mountain, Tadmuck hill where Westford Center looks out to the White Mountains, and Prospect hill, higher yet than Tadmuck that supplieth water for milk and other legal uses. The Knowltons will not occupy until spring.
The board of health in a city not far off, in its efforts to stamp out the up-to-date epidemic, ordered all saloons, soda fountains, coffee houses, department stores and much else closed down tight at five o’clock last Saturday evening, but left all fourth-class liquor saloons wide open, where liquor is not to be drank on the premises. The result was an over-crowding of the fourth-class saloons, the very condition the state board of health is trying avoid—crowds.
The United States crop report gives the cabbage crop as ten tons per acre as compared with eight tons last year.
The annual meeting of the Middlesex-North Agricultural society, which was listed for last Tuesday, was postponed for the epidemic panic reason which has got to be as contagious as the epidemic. Even the turning back of the clock has been postponed until late October.
A broken down apple tree limb on the Old Oaken Bucket farm, which has been balancing itself for three years by bark, which also seems to be epidemic, for several have gone to bark balancing, has justified its bark balancing by bearing four bushels of apples, some of which measure 11 ½ inches in circumference.
The court and jury in sitting which was due in Lowell last Monday, decided to undo its due and not be due until next Monday. Fear that the epidemic would do some in is the reason.
Mary Elizabeth O’Brien died [of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)] at her home in the south part of Westford on last Sunday, aged twenty-nine years. She had been in failing health for several years which kept her from the world of affairs and from any large acquaintance in society. She was born in New Zealand, but most of her life was spent in the United States. She bore her long illness with a heroism that the world passes by because of its humble seclusion. Besides her mother she leaves four brothers, John, James, William and George O’Brien; the last is the popular, well-known blacksmith near Westford station.
Napoleon said “An army lives on its stomach.” Maybe his did, but the United States army is living on its letters from home. So wrote M. S. Crockett, M.D. of the Y.M.C.A. in “Experience in a camp canteen.” Now let everybody in Westford remember that Gen. Crowder has expressed a wish that the people of the United States would set apart October 12—this anniversary of the discovery of America—as a day for writing letters to the soldier and sailor boys. Write “the news,” little bits of news about the home town, everything cheerful that one can think of, so Gen. Crowder urges.
Mrs. Miriam Ravi Booth and her interesting children have left the summer home in West Chelmsford and gone back to Cambridge.
Columbus day is a birthday anniversary for one of Westford’s well-known women. Mrs. Sarah J. Drew celebrates her eighty-third birthday on that day, full of vim and interest in everything.
When it was found that Westford’s quota was $200,000 in this loan drive as against $75,000 last time, some thought it was rather steep, but again the old town has over-subscribed. The report now stand [at] $280,300 from 283 subscriptions.
We feel impelled by personal acquaintance to hash to silence our little world of little business and say a word over the memories of Dr. Orion V. Wells and Charles D. Colburn. With Dr. Wells the writer has had many a friendly frolic of words. He had the edifying reciprocity of give and take. A real New England individuality which emphasized the law of common sense and the law of cause and effect. He came from a family of fine principles and high ideals. At one time there were four brothers in college. He had made a name for himself in his profession. We regret his early death. Mr. Colburn was one of the young, successful, noiseless farmers, clean of mouth and clean of conduct. He was a wholesome, genial fellow to meet, whether on the farm, in the church and Sunday school or the more heterogeneous public gatherings of social life.
Forge Village. Private Charles Smith of the 14th British Battalion, died on September 28 of wounds sustained in action on September 26. He was forty years old, the oldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Smith, of this village. He left home on February 21 to enlist. Two brothers and four sisters survive him. His parents were notified by Canadian authorities.
Graniteville. There are still many cases of illness here of the prevailing epidemic, but the majority of them are progressing favorably.
During the grippe epidemic here Dr. W. H. Sherman has been assisted by Dr. Edward Richardson, of Conway, and as Dr. Sherman was forced to take a rest for a couple of days Dr. Costello, of Camp Devens, helped out here and did good work.
William F. Sargent has been quite ill for the past few days.
All the churches and schools have been ordered closed and will remain so until further notice.
Mrs. Hannah Smith, of Fitchburg, has been a recent visitor here.
Little Doris York, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. E. York, and little Celia Wall, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Wall, who have been suffering with pneumonia, have recovered sufficiently to enable them to be about once more.
The sale of thrift stamps still continues to be good here and a great number have also subscribed to the fourth liberty loan. The liberty loan drive will be continued with greater vigor when the many cases of illness have abated.
Last Sunday was surely a quiet day with all the churches closed and a very few automobiles in evidence.
Lester McLenna is recovering from a severe attack of the grippe.
News Items. Hugh M. Foster, who conducted a branch undertaking establishment at Ayer in connection with his business in Leominster, died at his home in that city Sunday night at 11:30 o’clock, aged fifty-six years. Death was caused by influenza which he contracted while handling cases at Camp Devens, his sickness covering a period of two weeks. He has been in business here for the past two years. Mr. Foster was born in Hopkinton. He leaves two sons, a brother and a sister. Mr. Foster was a member of the K. of C. and A.O.H. of Leominster. The funeral took place in Leominster on Wednesday morning.
A Maine draftee, who sought to escape military service by fleeing from home, was arrested by federal officers in San Francisco who brought the fugitive to Camp Devens on Thursday. Two government officers made the long trip across the continent with the prisoner and delivered him to the military authorities at the camp.
The Par Colas Company are installing an addition to their machinery so as to make coffee for the camp on a large scale. Walter S. Dugee, the manager, is a hustler for business and is rushing the work. They are getting the coffee now from Boston until the machinery is set up.
The board of health furnishes the welcome news that the influenza epidemic is practically over in Ayer. There are no new cases and the number of old cases is rapidly diminishing. As a proper safeguard against any further possible contagion, all places where gatherings are held are to be kept closed for the present. With the continued improvement which is expected to come in the health condition the quarantine may be lifted.
Billy Sunday is going to fly from Boston, Saturday forenoon, to participate in the liberty day celebration. He accepted the invitation extended to him by long distance phone in Providence, where he is conducting evangelistic meetings. He will arrive in Boston from Providence at 10:25 Saturday morning and an airplane will be waiting to whisk him to camp in less than half an hour, which is twice as fast as a train could travel. He has no fears for his safety. The only sermon Billy Sunday will preach here will be a sermon of patriotism and he has been asked to make the liberty day address at the conclusion of the entertainment program. He will have an audience of 50,000 soldiers.
Ban Lifted by Board of Health. With the lifting of the quarantine against Camp Devens, established on September 19, and with the re-opening of places of public gatherings, which action has been taken this day, the board of health of Ayer wishes to sound a warning to the people of Ayer that this does not imply that there is no further danger in the epidemic of influenza.
The situation in Ayer has cleared up to such an extent that the above quarantine measures which are now withdrawn are no longer justifiable, but with conditions as they are in surrounding towns where the situation has not cleared up so well, it is distinctly advisable for our townspeople to use the same precautions as they have been pursuing in the past.
One should keep out of crowds and stuffy places as much as possible, and it is very important to beware of any person who coughs or sneezes without covering his mouth, since influenza is almost wholly transmitted from person to person in this direct manner.
To the Editor. Kindly permit me to correct an erroneous impression conveyed to your readers from Rev. Mr. Dun in your issue of September 28. In that letter, he mistakenly presumed that a congregation of Christian Scientists would oppose the Ayer board of health’s request that the churches be closed as a precaution against epidemic. The fact is that the Christian Scientists of Ayer promptly heeded this request and temporarily discontinued their services accordingly. It is a rule with all Christian Scientists to regard the rights of people who accept current theories of contagion, and to submit to measures designed for their protection.
Kindly permit me to add that the distinction carefully made by the same gentleman between “church” and a “congregation of Christian Scientists” is a relic of days that are passing, and for most people are entirely past. Perhaps Mrs. Eddy’s definition of “church” would be interesting to your readers. Quoted from page 583 of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” it reads as follows:
“The structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine principle. The church is that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick”
Cordially and sincerely yours, Clifford P. Smith
Committee on publication for The First Church of Christ Scientist, Boston, Mass., October 4, 1918.